FG TAKES OVER ARIK AIR, APPOINTS NEW MD AS EFCC ARRESTS ARUMEMI The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday said it
has taken over the operations of Nigeria’s largest domestic carrier, Arik
Mr Jude Nwauzor, AMCON spokesperson, confirmed the development to newsmen
Nwauzor said the airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, an
aviation expert under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).
He said the government decided to intervene because Arik Air is immersed
in heavy debt burden that is threatening to ground its operations.
“For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55 per cent of the
load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are
attributable to its bad corporate governance and erratic operational
“Others are inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among
other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to
intervene before the airline goes under like many before it,’’ he said.
Nwauzor said the move underscores government’s decision to instil sanity
in the nation’s aviation sector.
According to him, the development will afford the airline to go back to
regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors
and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the
already challenged aviation sector.
Also, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, in another
statement obtained by NAN further explained the rationale behind the
intervention of the government in the troubled airline.
Sirika said: “We believe that this takeover is timely and will stabilise
the operations of the airline.
“This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalise
the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in
view of the airline’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector,’’ he
The minister further pledged that the Federal Ministry of Aviation would
support the new management of the airline.
According to him, all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there
will be no undue disruption of the airline’s regular business operations
or activities of stakeholders, on account of the recent changes in its
However, Ilegbodu assured both staff of the troubled airline and all other
stakeholders that his appointment at Arik would among other objectives
enhance the value of the airline.
He said it would also improve customer experience, and sustain the safety,
reliability of the airline before all those values were eroded.
“As a matter of fact, Arik Air has been in a precarious situation largely
attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance,
erratic operational challenges and other issues.
“This required immediate intervention in order to guarantee the continued
survival of the Airline.
“Yesterday, Arik temporarily suspended its flight operations to the John
F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that
the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route have been taken to
France for C check at the same time.
“Equally more than eight aircraft are currently grounded at the tarmac
making it difficult to meet their routine commercial flights,’’ Ilegbodu
The operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also
on Wednesday stormed the airline’s office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport,
Lagos and also grilled its Chairman, Mr Joseph Arumemi-Ikhedi for several